St Mary’s Boys National School in the Irish capital’s Rathfarnham was the school honoured with the landmark Green Flag which has seen hundreds of thousands of Irish children taught about the sustainability agenda since 1998.

The Green Flag scheme is an initiative of the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) with over 32,000 participating schools in 49 countries on six continents.

Just last week across the Irish Sea, Scotland announced it had awarded its 1,000th school with a Green Flag.

The programme acknowledges schools for their efforts in reducing waste, cutting water use, saving energy and promoting sustainable travel to school.

As well as reducing their carbon footprint, Irish schools have over €2 million through the programme.

Earlier this year the University College Cork became the world’s first university to receive a Green Flag as part the new Green Campus programme.

“Green School’s evolution over the past 12 years goes beyond the growth in the volume of schools involved,” said Dr Michael John O’Mahony of Ireland’s National Trust, An Taisce. “By extending the programme to a child’s entire education cycle – from primary through to third level – we are genuinely raising lifelong ambassadors of sustainable living.

“Indeed, it is a measure of the impact of Green Schools that the decision to extend it to third level was on foot of demands by students themselves, who were rightly asking, ‘Why should we not continue to do here on campus what we’ve been doing for years at school?'”

David Gibbs

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